CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Micki Persky, CEO at Talent.Realised

Micki Persky is the founder and CEO at recruitment firm, Talent.Realised, which specialises in technology, sales & marketing, c-suite executive support and business support roles.

This conversation is brought to you by Create Careers, recruitment specialists for executive search, digital marketing, PR, big data, IT, cyber security and more.

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I was in advertising for the first 15 yrs of my career working firstly in agency land as a media buyer, then moved in sales, specifically in OOH (Out Of Home i.e Large Billboards) and my last role in media was as a Group Sales Manager for Eye Corp which was sold to OOH Media.

I started a recruitment firm at the end of 2007 (literally Dec 2007) and then the wonderful 2008 (GFC) hit in our first year of business. Interestingly it has set us up for this COVID world with our staunch determination and being malleability to get through this.

I’m actually super proud to say that not only did we NOT make anyone redundant due to COVID, we actually hired 3 people, kept everyone on full pay and persevered through this ongoing situation.

With resilience, commitment, dedication, the right team of good humans who have sheer determination coupled with a lot of laughter, camaraderie and an aligned group desire to make sure we sustain and even flourish. I’m really proud of what we have collectively achieved.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

We are currently three days in the office (my favourite days) and two days from home. I definitely get more work done from home as there is clearly a lot less distractions but being with everyone in the office is inspiring and fun. We very much feed off each other’s energy with small (and large) wins.

My day is a combination of being very much IN the business as I am still very much accountable for recruitment revenue coupled with being ON the business where my business partner and I collaborate to plan and strategise our next week, month and quarter.

Then I do the really exciting stuff, like making sure our contractual agreements with suppliers, vendors, banks etc are all correct as well as working with our accountant and bookkeeper for cash flow purposes (please note the sarcastic tone)

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

As I mentioned we are three days in and two days off. I genuinely feel that COVID has created a very interesting dynamic in my perspective on what I “used” to think was important and what i now “know” is important.

The flexibility has been really great for challenging my thinking in how to effectively operate. The whole team were the ones that instigated our return to the office as they wanted to be together but also to have the ability to WFH as well so that’s allowed me to think about and alter my priorities in terms of my physical and mental health – a pretty great outcome!

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Hmmm this is an interesting question, I’m not sure I’m even remotely there in understanding what work-life balance means. I oscillate my definition of this – probably based on my workload, to be honest.

I definitely now see the merit of ensuring self-care, exercise, good eating habits (well Monday to Thursday anyway) of which I certainly didn’t have before, but when the pressure to keep the doors open and everyone to be paid weighs on your shoulders, work always takes priority so I can sleep at night!

The other issue for me is that I genuinely LOVE what I do, my clients, my candidates that I work with, it means a great deal to me to be able to match exceptional talent with an organisation and fill a gap that is needed.

It does seem somewhat corny but for those that know me, they know it true. So, is there balance in my life, I don’t know – am I happy? Absolutely!

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5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I have started being more consistent with both diet and exercise (eye roll) not in any hectic or neurotic way, but in truth, it’s been for no other reason other than as I get older, things start hurting for no apparent reason.

It’s awful and ridiculous and makes me very conscious of ensuring my long term sustainability, so I’m being kind to myself and my body by having a consciousness about its’ and my health. I simply make better choices.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I have a secret (well not so secret now) slight aversion to crime podcasts – I listen to those whilst I often walk home in dark and think about how insane and scared I am as I listen to the gory details – seriously it’s weird.

I also balance out my little fascination with my total nerdy/need for interesting factual topics and listen to This American Life, Ted Talks (who doesn’t?), and also love Joe Rogan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Fry and Ricky Gervais. I habitually read the news and Fin Review every morning too.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Obviously I’m a recruiter so my phone is stuck to me more often than I like (but I kinda like it too – I’m a total juxtaposition of myself). Aside from my tools of trade required to do my job, I’m not hugely wedded to any gadgets or apps.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I’m not sure I subscribe to the notion of finding perfection of work-life balance by mimicking someone else’s life that been interviewed or what we perceive their life is from a written article or social media.

You never know what’s really going on behind closed doors and so often what you see isn’t what you get. I definitely admire some friends and clients who have achieved their desired financial freedom that allows them the best of both worlds, to work (because they love, not because they have to) and then do whatever else they want – be it holidays, days off, philanthropic work – whatever they chose.

That’s what I aspire to, when that balance is tangible to me, I look to learn and see how I can somehow incorporate their experience into cementing my own sense of work-life balance. There is no one perfect person.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Honestly, I feel like a lot of people try to measure themselves against what they are reading or being told is the “right” and the “wrong” way of doing things whether its work, life, or balancing both.

Sheryl Sandberg told us to “lean in” then had a tragic and life-changing event with the devastating passing of her husband and she released Option B and realised that “leaning in” wasn’t the right modus operandi at all.

My advice is that I truly and genuinely have NO IDEA – but what I do, do, is me – whatever makes me happy and comfortable. No judgment, no measurement, no agenda, some weeks I’m more diligent about exercise and diet, and others I’m not. No pressure to be anyone or anything other than me. Just be a good human to yourself and others, I keep it simple.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.